October 10th, 2005


First of a New Breed

49. Wallace, Nick. Fear Itself

The first new eighth-Doctor novel, now a PDA. This book slots in after Earthworld which I guess makes it #43.5 (and I'll read it again when I've got to that point in my readthrough), and features Anji and Fitz.

It's also one of the best EDAs that I've read. Anji, Fitz and the Doctor, caught up in a war they don't understand in the 22nd century. It's almost a classic plot; but with a host of writing tricks and scene/time-frame cuts that elevate it above the run of the mill, and the characterisation is excellent. In particular I've never really liked Anji, but this book rounds off her character that much better than many of the others have and, whilst I still don't like her, I have a better feeling for who she is that I have before. Fitz of course comes through stunningly, but by now he has to be the most studied Who companion ever (with the possible exception of Susan?), and a mistake with him would be unforgivable.

In summary, I've left out much of the detail here because, if you're a Who fan at all, you should read this book.
evil senji

What if…

50. Anderson, Kevin J. and Beason, Doug. The Trinity Paradox

…you had the chance to change the path of history as you know it?

Elizabeth Devane is given this chance after she was shot fifty years into the past and the middle of the Manhattan Project. But, inevitably, she finds that it's not so easy to change history and preserve that of the future she believes in. The end can hardly surprise anyone who understands narrative structure, but there are some surprises along the way; and the authors have at least done their research.

A captivating and technically accurate journey back in time – of what might have happened if the American and German atomic bomb projects had been pursued differently.
– Arnold Kramish, former Manhattan Project scientist

Perhaps. But the writing's not brilliant. Fairly good escapist stuff though.

The enemy's gate is down…

51. Card, Orson Scott. Ender's Game
52. Card, Orson Scott. Speaker for the Dead
53. Card, Orson Scott. Xenocide
54. Card, Orson Scott. Children of the Mind

Called The Ender Saga these days, as though it was a tetralogy; this is really a stand-alone novel and a trilogy.

Ender's Game is well worthy of its classic book status (although I'm saddened to see that the cover of this edition makes no mention of the Hugo Awards; did they become unfashionable or something?).

The other three are fairly standard quality SF really; and Xenocide should probably be divided in two to make an actual tetralogy. Card asks some interesting questions about what we mean by "sentient" or "alive" or "person", but his answer is probably a bit mystical for some (and a bit atheistic for others!).